May 28, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For ‘He has put all things under His feet.’ But when He says ‘all things are put under Him,’ it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.”—1 Corinthians 15:25–28 (NKJV)
With the proceeding passage, we find ourselves in the thick of one of the most glorious chapters in the entire Bible. The fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians is devoted to Paul’s unpacking of Christ’s resurrection and its impact on literally everything else in all creation. How fitting that a book so preoccupied with correcting consequences of Adam’s fall would lead to the ultimate hope of redemption through Christ’s resurrection!
As he works his way through this treatise on the resurrection, Paul comes to a core component of it: Christ’s authority. If His authority is lacking in any way, especially when it comes to His authority over death, then all that this chapter reveals about the resurrection falls like a house of cards. Which is why Paul hits this subject head on by declaring that Christ will reign over every enemy, including the enemy of death!
Think it through, death has been the enemy of God and, in fact, all humanity from the moment mankind fell in the Garden of Eden. Why? Because death, which entered into creation through sin, disrupted God’s original intention and desire for unbroken fellowship with us. Instead of continual and uncorrupted communion with Him, we have its opposite—sin, corruption, evil, and, as the unavoidable exclamation point on this misery, death. From the Fall onward, death was an undefeated adversary claiming every life that has ever existed.
Until . . . Jesus! He overcame death’s power by a greater authority. The only authority, in fact, that is greater than death’s, the authority of the everlasting and eternal God, who is not bound by death. That is what Paul wants us to see here: that Christ’s authority is greater than death because of who He is as God’s Son. God the Father has given God the Son (Christ) dominance over all things, including death. And that has an eternal consequence for us, because it means we who are in Christ share in that same dominance over death. As Christ was raised from the grave, so will we at that glorious and God-appointed moment. Christ, Himself, said it best this way: “Because I live, you will live also” (John 14:19 NKJV) .
Those seven words are the most important words we can ever read, know, and trust because they’re the assurance we have to lean on when our time comes to follow in Christ’s footsteps of physical death. What do we have to lean on when that moment of seeming finality arrives? How do we know our existence won’t come to an end then and there? We have the promise of Jesus, which Paul further fleshes out for us here in 1 Corinthians, that we’re part of the greater death-defying chain of authority, starting with the Father, delegated to the Son, which extends to all who are His.
Hold this truth in your heart. Look to its light in the midnight of your mourning. Cherish it up until your last earthly breath. It’s all we need to know as we close our eyes on this world for the last time and open them to the fullness of God’s glory.
Pause: Why is Christ’s absolute authority so important as it relates to the resurrection?
Practice: Consider how you can keep this truth as the central principle to your earthly life.
Pray: Everlasting and Almighty Lord, I thank You for defeating the enemy of death on my behalf and for sealing my victory over it by Your own death and resurrection. Help me to dwell in the awareness of what You’ve done for me and may I continually celebrate in its advance in the authoritative name of Jesus. Amen.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.